Two Small Fundraisings – on gspell and LaTeXila

We live in a world where it’s increasingly possible to have a part-time job and being paid for other small tasks on the side; think about Uber or airbnb.

I have a half-time job, and I care about Free Software. So the natural thing to do for me is to find ways to be funded for the contributions I do.

That’s why I was really pleased to hear Alexander Larsson, at the end of his talk at GUADEC about Flatpak:

And also an interesting thing – I think actually super important – is payment. I want people to be able to pay for Free Software.

Which was met with applause. But unfortunately such support in Flatpak and GNOME Software are not going to happen anytime soon, maybe in a few years with some hope.

In the meantime, I’m launching two small fundraisings!

If this is successful, the idea is to add further milestones, after the work is done on the first one.


gspell is a library that I created last year to share the spell-checking code between gedit and LaTeXila. The code comes from the gedit spell plugin, as such there is only the support for GtkTextView. The goal of the fundraiser is to add support for GtkEntry, a single line text entry field.

Go to the gspell fundraising page if you’re interested!


GTK+ 3.22, which will be released this Wednesday, will be the last GTK+ 3 stable version (see this announcement). After that, the deprecated functionality of GTK+ 3 will be removed. LaTeXila is not a new application, it is developed since 2009. A fundraising on a new piece of software can concentrate on features. For LaTeXila, what is more important is that it is well maintained, to be still relevant in the 2020’s. So the fundraiser is to make the code ready for GTK+ 4, at least as a next step.

Code maintenance is not really what we can call interesting, but it is useful. We can see this interesting/useful dichotomy quite often in the computer science world: for a researcher, is proof of correctness interesting? Yes. But in practice it is rarely applied. Is writing unit tests interesting? No, but it is very useful.

Go to the LaTeXila fundraising page if you’re convinced 😉

8 thoughts on “Two Small Fundraisings – on gspell and LaTeXila”

  1. I would like to pay for source input sensitive gspell. I mean I don’t want to change spellchecker dict as typing in corresponding language.

    What’s your expectation of using gspell within Gnome apps and outside? I doubt there is easy way to adopt gspell in Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, etc. Nonetheless, I really miss this feature in these apps.

    1. You mean language auto-detection? It would indeed be nice, but hard to do I think, except if there is already an easy-to-use library that does just that.

      gspell is for integrating spell-checking for standard GTK+ text widgets. I don’t think Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice use the standard GTK+ text widgets. Firefox and Thunderbird have XUL, and LibreOffice has VCL. And gspell uses Enchant under the hood, while Firefox and LibreOffice use directly hunspell.

      GtkEntry support for gspell would be useful for chat applications, or in any application that contains a form. For example in GNOME Software users can post reviews, with a title (as a GtkEntry) and a longer comment (as a GtkTextView). Currently the GtkEntry in GNOME Software is not spell checked.

      1. No-no, I meant to detect your keyboard layout for spellchecking: spellcheck dict language == input source (actually your input language).

        1. Ah, ok. Currently the default language is taken from the locale, not from the input source. If you have your desktop in English, then the default language will be English.

          In LaTeXila, the default language can be configured in the preferences dialog, and the language is also saved for each document.

          But in a program like GNOME Software, the language is not saved, it always takes the default language from the locale (that’s what GtkSpell also do). So for those applications, yes it can make sense to take the language from the input source/keyboard layout.

          Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Thanks Sébastien for your activities! 🙂
    I will make my payment conditional on a wish: Is it possible to make all stable releases of Latexilla available at the current and LTS releases of Ubuntu? (E.g. I wanna use 3.22 ATM with Xenial and it’s not possible because there is no official package and no PPA for it. :-|)

    Sry for that in advance, it seems not the gentlest manner! But for me it seems the useful way …

    Best regards and please go on with your work!

    1. LaTeXila regularly depends on the latest versions of GtkSourceView, gspell, GTK+ and GLib. Those libraries are in continuous development (and I develop/maintain GtkSourceView and gspell), so it is better for LaTeXila to keep track of the changes in those libraries.

      Some applications have conditional code depending on the version of a library, so that the application still works with older versions of that library. But I don’t want to do that for LaTeXila, it makes the code harder to read (and thus can contain more bugs), harder to test, etc. The new changes in the underlying libraries are meant to simplify application code, or permit more things, sometimes in a more elegant way. So over time, I prefer simplifying the code in LaTeXila instead of keeping compatibility with old versions.

      Also, some versions of GTK+ 3 were not fully backward-compatible.

      The solution to this problem is to create a container, but it is not easy for a LaTeX application (depending on TeXlive, usually installed with the package manager of the distro, not available inside the container):

      So in the meantime, to access the latest version of LaTeXila, Ubuntu is clearly not the best choice, at best it packages the N-1 version (the same for all the gnome packages). I personally use Fedora, and the packages are always up-to-date.

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